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Southern Maryland Electric Cooperative employees recently held two fundraising events and donated $35,760 to three local shelters.

The three groups that help the homeless in Southern Maryland, Lifestyles of Maryland of Charles County, Project ECHO of Calvert County and Three Oaks Center of St. Mary’s County, each received $11,920. SMECO employees raised the money through a bike ride held in June and a charity golf tournament in September. The events are supported by a group of volunteers, vendors and the SMECO executive team. The cooperative selects a different organization each year to benefit from the fundraising events.

Richard Jarboe, SMECO supply chain director, said in a press release, “Working together with SMECO’s supply chain partners to help our community is a labor of love; we work hard, we enjoy the event, and local organizations, along with the clients they serve, receive the benefits. We have held the charity golf event for 10 years and have given more than $100,000 to local organizations.”

“Our facility serves men, women and children. We offer a transition setting where people can stay up to 90 days. We give them time to get back on their feet,” said Trisha Gipson, executive director of Project ECHO, in the release. “Our close working relationship with local agency resources helps to keep residents as an integral part of the community. The Board of Education works with us to keep kids in their neighborhood schools. Calvert Memorial Hospital offers nutrition classes and a flu shot clinic. The Health Department, Social Services, and Southern Maryland Community Network also provide services to help residents build a foundation that will support them into the future.”

Natalie Brown, SMECO’s community relations specialist, said in the release, “We are especially grateful to business partners who donated thousands of dollars to help make the SMECO 75 Bike Ride a successful fundraiser.”

SMECO held its second annual bike ride June 1. More than 440 bicyclists registered for the event. Three bike routes of 29, 47, and 75 miles start at the co-op’s headquarters in Hughesville and go as far as Colton’s Point in St. Mary’s County.

“Major contributors to SMECO’s bike ride include CGI, C.W. Wright Construction Company, ICF International, and IP DataSystems. We would also like to thank the following companies for their contributions: Opower; Black & Veatch; Adams, Jenkins, and Cheatham; SunEdison; Sutherland, Asbill, and Brennan; and Utilitec,” Brown said in the release. “SMECO is planning on hosting its third annual bike ride on Saturday, May 31, 2014. We hope to raise even more money for the community next year.”